Presenting our 2024 Valedictorians

Presenting our 2024 Valedictorians

July 5, 2024

We were so proud of our seven inspiring students from both branches who were selected as our Valedictorians for the Grade 8 Graduation Ceremony in June. Kol HaKavod to the three Valedictorian emcees, Brody Belzberg, Samantha Czutrin and Maya Eichler, for leading us through the ceremony with a mixture of maturity and humour. We also wish to honour the four Valedictorian speakers, who delivered fantastic speeches in the four languages taught at Bialik –– Jazmin Katz, who addressed us in English, Yona Zilnik, who spoke in Hebrew, Daniel Jacoby, the French Valedictorian speaker, and Dahlia Dinovitzer-Levi, who delivered her speech in Yiddish.

Below you can see the videos and read excerpts from our Valedictorians’ inspiring speeches. They express the sense of accomplishment and excitement for the future that is shared by our graduating class.

“I will admit there have been days over my ten years at Bialik that I’ve wished would go by faster, but especially this past year, in the midst of high school decisions with the weeks just flying by, there have been so many more times when I’ve hoped for everything to just slow down; for my time at Bialik to stretch a little longer.

So I feel the bittersweetness of this milestone. It concludes ten years of calling Bialik home, hundreds of moments and thousands of memories. The ‘after’ we anxiously awaited and the ‘before’ of so much to come. So to fit this moment in between, I look to the universal graduation words of Dr. Seuss: 'You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.' Over the last ten years, we’ve become versions of ourselves that we’ll be proud to carry into the next phase of our lives. So I know that my excitement is shared with all of you up here and all of you out there when I say: 'Mazal Tov class of 2024; we did it.'”

Jazmin Katz, English Valedictorian

“At Bialik we have had the privilege of studying in a Jewish school, singing Hatikvah, speaking and learning Hebrew, celebrating Shabbat, learning about our heritage and Judaism, and making friends from our community without any fear or hiding like my grandfather had to do.

So what have we learned at Bialik? Throughout our years at Bialik we learned about Israeli and Jewish culture and the tradition of the Jewish people. We also had the privilege of learning four languages: Hebrew, English, French, and Yiddish. We learned how to be leaders and how to believe in ourselves.

As I approach graduation, I wonder what will I take from all the good that Bialik gave me? I will take all the happy and sad moments, the hard work, the disappointing moments, and also the successes.”

Hebrew Valedictorian 2024

Yona Zilnik, Hebrew Valedictorian

“Pat Riley, the president of my favourite basketball team the Miami Heat once said ‘Anytime you stop striving to get better, you’re bound to get worse,’ and Bialik has helped and encouraged me to never stop striving to be the best that I could be. I was a part of the student council for two years which was a great leadership opportunity for me as well as a great learning experience. That was in large part due to the many enrichment, volunteering, and leadership opportunities that Bialik has offered us over the years. None of which would have been possible without our amazing community of Bialik staff. I think I speak for us all when I say how grateful we are for our administrators and teachers who, among many other things, helped to ease us through the transition into the senior division way of learning, prepared us for our exams by teaching us how to study and take notes effectively, and above all, were always available to offer extra support whenever it was needed.”

“Pat Riley, le président de mon équipe de basket préférée, le Miami Heat, a dit: ‘Anytime you stop striving to get better, you’re bound to get worse,’ et Bialik a m’encouragé d'aspirer toujours au meilleur. J'ai fait partie du conseil des élèves pendant deux ans. Cela m'a donné l'opportunité d'être un leader, et m'a permis d'apprende beaucoup de choses. C’est due en grande partie aux nombreuses possibilités d’enrichissement, de bénévolat et de leadership que Bialik nous a donné.

Tout cela a été rendu possible par la formidable communauté du personnel de Bialik. Je veux dire aussi - que nous sommes reconnaissants pour tous nos administrateurs et enseignants qui nous ont t'aider à faciliter la transition au Senior Division, préparé pour les examens, montrer comment étudier et prendre des notes, et surtout, ont toujours été disponibles pour donner un soutien quand c’était nécessaire.”

Daniel Jacoby, French Valedictorian

“Over our time at Bialik, we learned stories, traditions, customs and more that immersed us into the rich tapestry of our Jewish heritage, connecting us to our past and the collective experience of the Jewish people. Every Yiddish folk tale we learned is a thread that weaves our past into our present. Every powerful story of a survivor gives us the strength to carry on the legacy of Judaism. Every class at Bialik has inspired us as Jews, dreamers, and leaders. In these unsettled times, we ask ourselves the same question that I.L Peretz asked himself a century ago; ‘how do we keep being Jewish in a world that keeps changing?’

I will compare this to the Rebbe in the story; he consciously chooses to dedicate time to helping those often overlooked, reciting the prayers with them instead. Similarly, we are called to engage with our Jewish values, to identify them, and to find meaning in them in the world around us. This is not just a suggestion but a responsibility we must shoulder with determination and pride.”

Yiddish Valedictorian 2024

Dahlia Dinovitzer-Levi, Yiddish Valedictorian